blog - The Master of Artistic Myths and Passionate Creations - Maarten Donders, creator of the Passionfruit -Elderflower design

The Master of Artistic Myths and Passionate Creations - Maarten Donders, creator of the Passionfruit -Elderflower design

by Hendrik De Winne


Welcome to the captivating world of Maarten Donders, the artist who has crafted a magical design for our latest Yugen Kombucha flavor, 'Passionfruit Elderflower.'

In this article, we invite you to get to know Maarten better as he shares his personal and artistic journey with us.


Maarten, can you tell us how your passion for art began and how you see yourself in the art world?

My name is Maarten Donders, and I was born and raised in Tilburg. My artistic journey began at a young age when I became fascinated with drawing. My father, a creative soul and artist, was my greatest source of inspiration. I remember as a child often drawing myself as a superhero, attempting to transcend the everyday reality and create a world where I could be myself.

My passion for drawing led me to the Art Academy, where I hoped to improve my technical skills. Although I drew a lot there, I found it frustrating because the emphasis was strongly on concepts. But my determination and love for drawing kept me on the path of art.

After my studies, I came across a poster for the 'Roadburn festival,' an event in my own city. This was a turning point in my career. The poster, filled with flying skulls and psychedelic imagery, sparked my imagination and led to a collaboration with a brewery. There, I was responsible for the entire visual identity, from cans to logos, posters, and merchandising. This experience not only helped me develop my style but also provided me with the opportunity to express my creativity in a new way.



I see myself as both an illustrator and an artist. As an artist, I am always focused on expressing ideas and concepts that reside in my mind. As an illustrator, I appreciate the accessibility of my work. The fact that my drawings hang in the homes of hundreds of people gives me a sense of fulfillment and reaffirms my place in the art world.

My artistic journey is one of constant evolution and growth. From my early days of drawing alongside my father to my current success as a recognized artist and illustrator, I have traversed a unique path in the world of art. And with my unstoppable passion and creativity, there is no doubt that I will achieve even more in the future.



How would you describe the atmosphere and emotions in your drawings? How have old engravings, art from the 60s and 70s, Art Nouveau, Surrealism, and your favorite artists influenced your work?

My drawings are a celebration of nature and an exploration of duality, often depicting the contrasts of life - dark and light, male and female, death and life. These themes not only reflect my personal philosophy but also my artistic influences.

The influence of old engravings, art from the 60s and 70s, Art Nouveau, and Surrealism is clearly visible in my work. These styles have challenged me to think outside the box and have helped me develop my own unique, timeless style.



Robert Crumb, an American cartoonist known for his satirical and highly stylized pen-and-ink drawings, has left a profound impression on me. Like Crumb, I strive to infuse my drawings with expression and meaning, using art as a form of social commentary.

Additionally, I have drawn much inspiration from the French Underground Comics movement, featuring artists like Moebius, Philippe Drouillet, and Philippe Casa. Their combination of technical skill and visionary creativity has had a significant impact on my work. The psychedelic art of the 60s, such as the work of Rick Griffin and Stanley Mouse for the Grateful Dead, has also played a role in shaping my style.

However, perhaps my greatest source of inspiration is the artist Alphonse Mucha. His work, which radiates both beauty and a profound fear of death, has left a lasting impression on me. His ability to weave such powerful emotions into his art is something I also strive for in my own work.



In short, my drawings are a reflection of my inner world and the numerous influences that have shaped my artistic journey. They pay tribute to the artists who have inspired me and celebrate the natural world around us.



How do archetypes and childhood dreams play a role in your work? And could you share something about your relationship with music?

Archetypes and childhood dreams undeniably play a role in my art. I often create characters that embody archetypes, such as the hermit, adding depth and a sense of mystery to my work. These characters are more than just figures on paper; they are symbols that tell stories and are enriched with additional elements like talismans. They are akin to tarot cards, each with their own unique meaning and story.


Music is another essential aspect of my creative process. It serves as the fuel for my creativity and remains a constant source of inspiration. While I listen to a wide range of music, the music from the 60s and 70s holds a special place in my heart. This music evokes specific emotions and helps me get into the right mindset for creating. That being said, I want to emphasize that there is equally exciting music being made today that continues this tradition. I enjoy being a part of both the music culture of the past and the contemporary movement. Music, in a way, adds an extra dimension to my work, an underlying melody that enhances the visual elements.

In summary, my work is a interplay of archetypal figures, childhood dreams, and musical influences. It forms a visual symphony where each element plays its own unique role, and together they create a harmonious whole.



What challenges have you encountered on your artistic journey?

On my artistic journey, I have faced various challenges. One of the biggest challenges is finding a balance between commercial work and personal projects. It's an ongoing struggle to allocate time for my own creative expressions while also completing assignments.


Another challenge is maintaining my unique style while continuing to evolve and grow as an artist. This is an ongoing learning process and, in itself, a journey. However, it's precisely these challenges that have helped me to grow and further develop as an artist.

Additionally, there's the challenge of staying creative even in less inspiring times. It's essential to keep feeding yourself with inspiration and beauty to maintain the joy in the creative process. Sometimes, this means taking a break or reflecting on the direction you're heading.

It's a complex dance, but also deeply satisfying. Each challenge offers opportunities for growth and learning, allowing me to dive even deeper into my artistic journey.



Why did you transition from music to tattoos? How would you describe your tattoo style?

It's not so much that I left music for tattoos, but rather that I expanded my artistic horizons. Tattooing adds an extra dimension to my work, a new way to share my art permanently.

My transition to tattooing was not a simple decision; I underwent a traditional apprenticeship, a period of intensive study and practice. However, this challenge enriched my work and provided me with new opportunities to share my art.

My tattoo style is inspired by techniques from old engravings. I use lines to create shape and texture, a technique that feels both traditional and modern. It's a style that reflects the freedom and artistic diversity of contemporary tattoo culture.

I work with both pre-designed tattoos, available in my flashbook, and personalized designs. Many clients come to me for my signature designs, such as frogs and gnomes. They give me the freedom to create and bring my vision to life on their skin. It's an exciting and fulfilling expansion of my artistic horizons.



What motivated you to collaborate with Yugen? Can you share the story behind the Yugen design? Does it have a title?

Collaborating with Yugen Kombucha was a particularly enriching experience. What I greatly appreciated was the complete artistic freedom they afforded me. It was a unique opportunity to showcase and share my work in a different way with a wider audience.



For Yugen, I created a piece titled "Eyes of the World," or "Ogen van de Wereld" in Dutch. The design tells a story of connection with nature. The idea is that when we look at nature, nature also looks back at us. Plants constantly absorb elements from the air and light, just as we are constantly seeking food and new stimuli. It's a reflection on the collective consciousness that continually observes itself. This concept of reciprocity and connection is deeply woven into the design.



And what does the future hold for Maarten?

Regarding my future plans, I'm always looking for new ways to express myself and improve my skills. I plan to experiment with different media and techniques and look forward to more collaborations.



Thank you, Maarten, we will follow your journey with great admiration.

Check out more of Maarten Donders' art at www.maartendonders.com and follow him on Instagram at @maarten.donders

You can find the stories behind the other designs here.



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